The BTR-D is a Soviet airborne multi-purpose tracked armoured personnel carrier which was introduced in 1974
About this creation
The BTR-D was first seen by the West in 1979 during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. The acronym "BTR-D" stands for Bronetransportyor Desanta (БТР, Бронетранспортер Десанта, literally "armoured transporter of the Airborne"). It is based on the BMD-1 airborne IFV. It's NATO designation is BMD M1979.
In 1969 the BMD-1 airborne IFV entered service with the Soviet Army. The vehicle had many flaws, but the biggest one was the fact that the troop compartment was extremely cramped and could only transport up to four infantrymen. In fact this number was often shortened to three because it was impractical for four infantrymen to operate inside the troop compartment and dismount the vehicle. Because of this in the beginning of 1970s the design bureau of Volgograd Tractor Factory, which designed the BMD-1, began designing an airborne APC based on BMD-1. The prototype was ready in 1974 and in the same year it entered production and service with the Soviet Army as BTR-D.
Although the turret with all of the main armament was removed, the two bow mounted machine guns have been retained. However the original PKT tank machine guns have been replaced by PKB general purpose machine guns. The vehicle can also be fitted with pintle-mounted automatic grenade launchers, machine guns or ATGMs
The armour protection is slightly better on the BTR-D than on the BMD-1. That's because the upper front armour has a dual slanted angle. Also its armour is made out of aluminium which proved to be much better than the armour on the BMD-1 which was made out of cast magnesium alloy and caught fire and burned fiercely, often killing the crew if hit with a weapon such as an RPG.
The main varient of the BTR-D is the BTR-ZD "Skrezhet," a BTR-D converted into an airborne air defense vehicle carrying two MANPAD teams. The vehicle is fitted with racks for spare MANPAD missiles and is fitted with external stowage rails for a MANPAD on the right hand side of the roof of the troop compartment. It can also carry a complete ZU-23-2 twin anti-aircraft autocannon mount on the roof of the troop compartment.
Weight - 8 tons
Length - 6.74 m
Width - 2.94 m
Height - 1.67 m
Crew - 3 (commander, driver and bow machine gunner+ 10 troops)
Armor - 15 mm at 78° upper hull front, 15 mm at 50° lower hull front, 10 mm rest of the hull
Main armament - automatic grenade launchers or machine guns
Secondary armament - 2×7.62 mm PKB bow general purpose machine guns (2,000 rounds)
Engine - 5D-20 6-cylinder 4-stroke V-shaped liquid cooled 15.9 litre diesel w/241 hp
Power/weight 30.1 hp/tonne (22.5 kW/tonne)
Fuel capacity - 300 l
Range - 500 km (road, 116 km (water)
Speed - 61 km/h (road), 35 km/h (cross country), 10 km/h (swimming)